OKCIC provides prevention education during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, aims to promote colorectal cancer screening.
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is observed in March to raise awareness and motivate people ages 45 and older to schedule a routine screening. Colorectal cancer is dangerous. According to the American Cancer Society, it’s the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
“Regular screening is the most effective way to prevent colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Janice Hixson, OKCIC’s Chief Medical Officer. “Screening can detect precancerous polyps. It can also detect cancer in its earliest stages, when treatment is easiest.”
Those ages 45 and older should begin getting regular screenings for colorectal cancer. Some people may feel nervous about getting screened, but there are many different methods available. Talk to your provider about which of these common screening options are right for you.
- Stool test: Stool tests inspect your stool for blood or altered DNA. They use a special kit to collect a sample and return to your provider for inspection. These tests can be done anywhere, and need to be repeated every one – three years.
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: Your provider will inspect your rectum and lower part of your colon for cancer or polyps. This is done by inserting a thin, flexible tube into the anus. These tests are done in a clinical setting, and need to be repeated every three – five years.
- Colonoscopy: Your provider will inspect your rectum and colon for cancer or polyps. This is done by inserting a thin, flexible tube into the anus. These tests are done in a clinical setting and need to be repeated every 10 years.
Risk factors for colorectal cancer include family history, Lynch syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and aging. Lifestyle risk factors include smoking, alcohol use, not getting enough physical activity and certain types of diets. Cooking meat at high temperatures, consuming an excessive amount of red meat or processed meat and not getting enough vitamin D can contribute to your risk.
“Although some risk factors can’t be controlled, we can make healthy lifestyle changes to help prevent colorectal cancer,” Hixson said. “Try to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If you currently smoke, make plans to quit.”
OKCIC patients can call (405) 948-4900 to schedule a colorectal cancer screening. During March, patients who return a home stool kit will be entered in a drawing to win a $50 Visa gift card and other prizes. \
About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 to provide excellent health care and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for nearly 23,000 patients from over 200 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians can receive a range of services, including medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, please call (405) 948-4900 or visit www.okcic.com.